Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said the occurrence of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in the country is “tapering down”.
In a press conference, Dar said the DA managed the outbreaks through elevated quarantine measures, as well as through enhanced interagency and interdepartmental collaboration.
“The outbreak is now tapering down. It is decreasing. It’s a good pangitain na bumababa yung occurrence ng outbreaks (It’s a good sign that the occurrence of outbreaks is dwindling),” Dar said.
Dar, however, stressed the need to disseminate the national zoning plan to all local government units to effectively control the movement of pork and pork-related products and prevent the spread of the hog disease.
“Itong zoning plan na meron na tayo… i-disseminate pa mas lalo sa lahat ng local government units (This zoning plan that we have should be further disseminated to all local government units),” Dar said as he pushed for the whole-of-nation approach to arrest the spread of ASF.
Under the zoning plan, areas in the country will be classified by their ASF status — free zones, containment zones, surveillance zones, protected zones, and infected zones. These are further categorized using a color-coded mechanism.
Dar said Visayas, Mindanao, and Mimaropa regions are considered free zones (green). This means that these areas can freely trade their products anywhere in the country.
For the containment zones, regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), and 5 (Bicol) are protected zones (light green); Regions 3 (Central Luzon) and 4A (Calabarzon) are surveillance zones (yellow); Bulacan and Pampanga are infected zones (red).
Dar also highlighted that the zoning plan also imposes a transport ban of longganisa, tocino and hotdog products from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao.
“Para klaro, yung mga longganisa, tocino at hotdog ay hindi pa natin papayagan na iti-trade from Luzon to Visayas, to Mindanao. Ang papayagan lang natin through the zoning plan ay fully-cooked and canned processed pork products,” he said.
The Agriculture chief said the local hog industry has been losing PHP1 billion a month, or a total of PHP4 billion since mid-August, due to the ASF.
“Ang development bumaba na ‘yung outbreak. Nag-pi-pick up na din (prevention and control measures). Tumataas na ang confidence at negosyo ay bumabalik na (The development is that the occurrence of outbreaks has decreased. The prevention and control measures have also picked up. That’s why the confidence of the public has increased and the business is returning),” he said.
He noted that PHP220 million has been disbursed from the PHP1-billion indemnification fund to mitigate the impact of ASF. (PNA)